The Great Reversal: Antony Flew

There have been more than a few articles written about Antony Flew. He is a British philosopher that spent the majority of his life refuting theism. He was known by many as one of the pillars of atheism, by which many professed atheists "hung their hats." In 2004 however, this all changed, as Flew authored the book There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. The mere mention of Flew and his book incites anger in many people. If you don't know who Flew is, it would be analogous to the Pope renouncing his Catholic Faith or Hitler building schools for the Jewish nation -- he did a complete 180 degree turn.

So why the sudden change? Some of his more outspoken critics (people that used to uphold Flew as an eminent philosopher) are now blaming his change of heart on his old age. How boring. Have they read his book? Some argue that his contributing editor Roy Varghese actually took charge of the majority of the book. This claim has been widely rejected by many, including Flew himself. It's interesting to me that someone so revered by so many while he was a non-believer, should be so quickly written off and forgotten when (after decades of study) he finally changes his mind. I have included a link to an interview with Flew at the end of this post. You be the judge on whether or not he is "declining due to old age."

So lets discount the knee-jerk reactions of his critics and nay-sayers for the moment, and examine the more interesting question. How does someone go from one end of the spectrum to the other end? Not slightly askew mind you, but ALL the way to the other side. It occurs to me that it just may be that Flew has finally allowed himself to see the big picture. The nail in the coffin of his atheism was the recent discovery of consistent complexity in nature, specifically biology. After years of looking at the glass half empty, something happened. His book outlines several good arguments in favor of God, as well as a good many critiques as to why the atheistic beliefs of his contemporaries fail. But this still points us back to the question, "why the big change, and why now?"

May God continue to work in all of us. I believe this change of heart demonstrates that it is NEVER too late to accept (as St. Paul mentions in the book of Romans) the fact that God's creation itself is evidence to His divine existence. It just happened to take Flew until the later years of his life to see this truth. Far be it from us to consider ourselves "too intelligent" to believe in God. May we never become too educated or too learned to look up at the stars in the night sky, or a beautiful sunset and say, "there is no creator."



  1. I'll have to read this. I like that he's not just saying, "I was just wrong about everything." He's maitaining his scepticism and upholding reasoning.

  2. It was easy enough to research this if you want the whole truth about the poor man, here's wikipedia:
    Book with Varghese

    In 2007, Flew published a book titled There is a God, which was listed as having Roy Abraham Varghese as its co-author. Shortly after the book was released, the New York Times published an article by religious historian Mark Oppenheimer, who stated that Varghese had been almost entirely responsible for writing the book, and that Flew was in a serious state of mental decline, having great difficulty remembering key figures, ideas, and events relating to the debate covered in the book.[4] His book praises several philosophers (like Brian Leftow, John Leslie and Paul Davies), but Flew failed to remember their work during Oppenheimer's interview. The article provoked a public outcry, in which atheist PZ Myers called Varghese "a contemptible manipulator."[22]

    A further article by Anthony Gottlieb noted a strong difference in style between the passages giving Flew's biography, and those laying out the case for a god, with the latter including Americanisms such as "beverages", "vacation" and "candy". He came to the same conclusion as Oppenheimer, and stated that "Far from strengthening the case for the existence of God, [the book] rather weakens the case for the existence of Antony Flew".[23] Varghese replied with a letter disputing this view.[24] Flew released a statement through his publisher stating that although Varghese did the actual writing, the book belonged to him and represented his thinking.[25] An audio commentary by William Lane Craig[26] concurs with this position, but Richard Carrier disputes this view.[27] In June 2008, Flew stated his position once again, in a letter to a fellow of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship.[5]

    Christian writer Regis Nicoll claims that "Moreover, in a signed, handwritten letter (a copy of which I now have) sent to Roy Varghese, the legendary philosopher reaffirmed his conversion while criticizing Oppenheimer for drawing attention away from the book’s central argument: the collapse of rationalism."[28] He argues that "Even Mark Oppenheimer described the ex-atheist “flaunt[ing] his allegiance to deism” in May 2006 to a Christian audience at Biola University."


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